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Old 07-01-2004, 03:35 AM   #16
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I believe Jesus is our Saviour because he opened the doors to eternal life for us. He is saving us from non-eternal life.

In some ways, I would like to think God is a judge - like in the case of murder. I'm not quite sure how God handles that type of human behavior if he does at all. I still believe that we are already pardoned through grace and we don't need to be cleansed and adopted.
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Old 07-01-2004, 03:46 AM   #17
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I should clarify, I think we can wonder and question, but never know. Not something as utterly huge as the whole God thing. The God I envision is too huge for mere man to ever understand.
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Old 07-01-2004, 04:02 AM   #18
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From reading the posts it seems this thread is more directed towards how to pursue life, not how to pursue unalienable truth. As long as the two concepts are associated as mutually inclusive ideas in this thread, the discussion will inevitably get more personal... a misdirection from the original intent, I assume.

How do people interpret truths? I think that's too broad-based a question to give a concise answer. Defining truth will always be subject to context, and one's own acquired set of perception (whether pre-disposed or experiential, depending on if you're a fan of Pope or Locke, respectively). This is really a self-reflective exercise more than anything, and the ramblings of internet theologians will probably only allow for more ambiguity in the topic. Which, depending on your vantage, may be beneficial towards sculpting one's scripts for truth, or could detrimentally cause a person to feel marginalized by some external imposition.

This thread doesn't seem to be progressing towards any benefit... there seems to be more posturing than attempts at discovering common ground. Maybe if the discussion of truths originated at examining simple consistent themes, rather than complex manifestations of beliefs, the result would have been more productive.

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Old 07-01-2004, 06:53 AM   #19
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Originally posted by Pinball Wizard
This thread doesn't seem to be progressing towards any benefit... there seems to be more posturing than attempts at discovering common ground.
this should be one truth I think we can all agree on
it seems FYM overall is slowly but surely going back in this direction again

I think accepting that we might not know the truth on many issues could be helpful at times
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Old 07-01-2004, 11:15 AM   #20
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Here's how you tell truth from fallacy...

90% of the time truth is ugly, discomforting, and evil.

10% of the time truth is hope, happiness, and good.

That's a simple explanation from my worldview.
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Old 07-01-2004, 10:39 PM   #21
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I'm afraid that despite all of my attempts recently I seem to have given the impression to at least some that I claim to know and understand everything, have exclusive access to "The Truth", and am looking down on everyone who dares to disagree with me in the process.

I don't mean to give that impression. I'm just trying to say that as we search for understanding by earnestly and honestly reaching out to our Creator, he will be able to teach us more and more which will give us greater clarity than we had before.

While it's impossible to ever know everything or fully understand the mind of God, I believe it is possible to achieve enough clarity through searching for knowledge and seeking God to where we can have some degree of certainty towards how God sees some if not all issues.

If this was impossible, then how could we ever create any laws or come up with any standards of right and wrong at all?
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Old 07-01-2004, 10:54 PM   #22
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Simple. There is a fallacy that all sense of what is "right" and "wrong" must emanate from a Deity, whether that be God or Buddha or Vishnu or Ahura Mazda, etc. But have you heard of anything called the Enlightenment? The highly important 18th century French philosophical movement? If you haven't, you should read up on it, because, despite claims from Christian groups to the contrary, our nation was founded on secular humanist philosophy, which pretty much created universal "moral" structures, intended to be applicable to any and all religious beliefs (or the absence thereof) and to allow a pluralist society with different religious beliefs to co-exist. And it's worked quite well, as the U.S. hasn't been plagued by religious wars that rocked imperial Europe or the ones that the Islamic world deals with on a regular basis.

And I like secular humanism. It allows me to explore my personal religious beliefs, without fear of someone's divergent religious beliefs to encroach on my right to live in disagreement, and vice versa. Most people who advocate more religion in society assume that it is their religion that will be paraded in public. Of course, there are parts of the nation that are predominantly Catholic or Mormon or even Muslim (I'm looking at you, Dearborn, Michigan), so how would a fundamentalist Christian like it if they were required to make Muslim prayers in public school? Or say the "Hail Mary" in a predominantly Catholic area?

And this is where secular humanism makes sense. It is not about trying to remove God from life. It is about the freedom to practice one's religion, no matter how mainstream or controversial it is, in a level playing field. And, yes, there are many universal truths that all people can agree on to make a society function; after all, that's how the U.S. Constitution has been able to survive for 228 years, in spite of the vast changes in philosophy in this nation. And it should be noted that many of the parts of the Constitution ran completely contrary to religious sentiment of the era; in fact, one could argue that the tolerant aspect of the Constitution influenced modern religion instead of the other way around!

Overall: study up on secular humanist theory and you'll be able to answer your own question.

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Old 07-02-2004, 12:29 AM   #23
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Although I cannot say that I agree with you, you've made some very interesting points.

To the best of my understanding, I think the problem is that people have taken Thomas Jefferson's concept of "freedom of religion" (which cannot even be found in the U.S. Constitution, by the way) and have turned it into "freedom from religion in government".

The goal of the U.S. founders was not to keep religious principles out of the government/laws/etc. -- their goal was to keep the government from telling anyone how to worship.

In other words, they broke away from oppressive Christian nations controlled by a select few (royalty, priests, etc...) in order to create a free Christian nation which would be controlled by the people.
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Old 07-02-2004, 12:34 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFirstBigW
I think the problem is that people have taken Thomas Jefferson's concept of "freedom of relgion" (which cannot even be found in the U.S. Constitution, by the way) and have turned it into "freedom from religion" a.k.a. secular humanism.

The goal of the U.S. founders was not to keep religious principles out of the government/laws/etc. -- their goal was to keep the government from telling anyone how to worship.

In other words, they broke away from oppressive Christian nations controlled by a select few (royalty, priests, etc...) in order to create a free Christian nation which would be controlled by the people.
Oh we've heard this one before. And yet no one has shown proof.
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Old 07-02-2004, 12:48 AM   #25
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
And yet no one has shown proof.
You're right in that I'm not as up on my history as Melon seems to be and that I don't have any concrete proof to back it up.

But I have yet to see any concrete proof against it or for the opposing view, either.
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Old 07-02-2004, 01:04 AM   #26
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I find it interesting that people who will dissect to death the same one line in the Constitution don't notice how many times God is mentioned in that entire document. Does anyone know?
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Old 07-02-2004, 01:14 AM   #27
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I find it interesting that people who will dissect to death the same one line in the Constitution don't notice how many times God is mentioned in that entire document. Does anyone know?
Do you have to have religion to have God?
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Old 07-02-2004, 01:18 AM   #28
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No, but you do have to have God to have a religion. The argument that is typically made is that the US was founded as a Christian nation. But how many times do the founders mention Christ, or even God in the Constitution?
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Old 07-02-2004, 01:32 AM   #29
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I'm sorry, but after thinking about it, maybe Pinball Wizard is correct and that this thread has outlived its usefulness.

I'd hate to go on arguing just for the sake of arguing, so maybe we should just let this thread die...
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Old 07-02-2004, 07:47 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFirstBigW
Although I cannot say that I agree with you, you've made some very interesting points.

To the best of my understanding, I think the problem is that people have taken Thomas Jefferson's concept of "freedom of religion" (which cannot even be found in the U.S. Constitution, by the way) and have turned it into "freedom from religion in government".

The goal of the U.S. founders was not to keep religious principles out of the government/laws/etc. -- their goal was to keep the government from telling anyone how to worship.

In other words, they broke away from oppressive Christian nations controlled by a select few (royalty, priests, etc...) in order to create a free Christian nation which would be controlled by the people.
I disagree, and I bring evidence. All the points you've brought up are examples of romantic Christian lies invented during the mid-19th century after the revival of Christianity in the late 1830s. These people had no problem inventing the popular lies that our Founding Fathers were devout Christians, interested in creating a Christian nation (not to mention they also invented the lie about George Washington chopping down his father's cherry tree). Prior to the revival in the 1830s, America was actually very cool to religion; this was cyclical for the U.S. The prior "Great Awakening" occurred in the 1760s, but by the Revolutionary War, the dominant religion of the era, Anglicanism, was seen as a tool of imperial British power, and was distrusted, not so differently than when America became disillusioned with religion after the joke of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

Do you want to really know what the Founding Fathers believed? Here is some direct quotes:

Thomas Jefferson, writer of the Declaration of Independence:

"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."

"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus."

"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ."

Jefferson's word for the Bible: "Dunghill."

Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, an Enlightenment-era religion that believed that God did exist, but only to create the universe, and, after creation, abandoned us to leave us do our own thing. The reference to "the Creator" in the Constitution is a reference to Deism, as that is how the referred to God.

Then there's John Adams:

"Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?"

"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

And if you were looking for direct evidence to contradict your claims:

"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." - Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, signed by John Adams

Then there's James Madison, the writer of the Constitution:

"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy."

Madison was also greatly opposed to giving the clergy and churches tax-exempt status, and wrote this in response:

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

They really did want freedom of religion and freedom from religion! And this was much in keeping with the majority of attitudes towards religion back in their day; it was looked up suspiciously and really quite liberally.

Fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity as we know it started in the late 1830s. After it became the dominant religion in America, they took many liberties with history and completely rewrote it to ensure that America would never sink into another period of "doubt" ever again, as was the cyclical norm from the late 1600s to their era. By idolizing our Founding Fathers and portraying them falsely to be evangelical Christians, they were able to indoctrinate people into believing that anyone who tried to challenge their belief system or their authority in American life were "traitors" to America. After all, how dare one challenge the Founding Fathers?

This is also, frankly, why I inherently distrust the Bible myself, in terms of some of the stuff supposedly attributed to God. We may find it appalling that anyone would lie this massively to achieve their means, but religion has repeatedly had no problem in doing so! Seeing some of the contradictions between the Masoretic OT text (c. A.D. 1000) that is most commonly used and the much older Dead Sea Scrolls is enough to show that there is no "definitive" Biblical text. But I digress...

Melon
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